Rwanda: Japanese Envoy Pledges to Help Attract More Investors to Rwanda

22 February 2020

AMB. Masahiro Imai, the Japanese envoy to Rwanda, has pledged to help attract Japanese companies to invest in different sectors in Rwanda.

He was speaking at the Birthday celebration of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan on Thursday February 20, at his residence in Kigali.

Imai, who said he had worked in a trading and investment company for 39 years before being appointed ambassador, said he is interested in bringing big investors to Rwanda.

"During the 3-year term of my predecessor, the number of Japanese companies doing business in Rwanda increased from seven to 27 but most of them are small and medium, start-up companies; I wish to bring Japanese big companies," he said.

He added that since he arrived in the country two months ago, three more Japanese companies have set up shop in Rwanda.

Some companies are in agriculture such as growing, processing and exporting macadamia.

Others are into vehicles sales, software development, among others.

"This is a clear demonstration of the soaring interest of the Japanese private sector in doing business in Rwanda. I found that there is greater potential between Japan and Rwanda for business. Rwanda became famous in the past 20 years all over the world but it still needs business, it stills needs economic growth," he said.

The envoy said that Japanese companies can invest in agriculture, export of Rwandan agricultural products like coffee and tea, infrastructure like power, water, ICT and others.

He also cited growing interest in health care.

"To improve medical treatment in Rwanda, there are many things that the Japanese business community can do here," he said and encouraged business sectors of Japan and Rwanda to find new business opportunities.

"Japan and Rwanda have a wide spectrum of unexplored business opportunities, and it would be my great pleasure if my experience as a businessman could be of any help," he said.

He said that Japan has a long history of working with Rwanda for its agricultural development.

Last year, Japan and Rwanda agreed on a new loan of $90 million to be implemented by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

"Rwanda will be able to acquire capabilities for producing high value-added exportable agricultural products, which will certainly contribute to reducing its trade deficit as well," he added.

Rwanda's Foreign Affairs minister Dr Vincent Biruta said that Rwanda will continue to strengthen bilateral relations with Japan.

"2019 was an important year in our bilateral cooperation with two visits by President Kagame to Japan that led to the signing of an agreement to strengthen water transmission pipeline to improve water distribution in the City of Kigali," he said.

In the same year, a loan agreement was also signed by the two countries to improve nutrition through agricultural transformation.

"Supporting our policy on nutrition improvement is contributing to our efforts to curb malnutrition by setting nutrition sensitive agricultural guidelines and improving the availability of protein-rich food.

Rwanda also partnered with Japan to launch the first Rwandan-made Satellite prototype last year.

"In terms of investments, we have registered more than $21 million investments which created over 178 jobs. The investments are in agro-processing, horticulture, mining, ICT and services sector," he noted.

He added that there are still business opportunities such as green transport, energy sector and others.

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